Ford Motor Co. hires Doug Field, a top executive with experience at Apple, Tesla

Phoebe Wall Howard
Detroit Free Press

Doug Field, former vice president of special projects at Apple, has accepted a key position at Ford Motor Co., the automaker announced Tuesday.

Before working at Apple, Field, 56, was senior vice president of engineering at Tesla, where he led the development of the Model 3, according to his company biography provided by Ford.

Apple executive Doug Field accepts a top position at Ford Motor Co., the automaker announced Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021.

Field becomes chief advanced technology and embedded systems officer at Ford, effective immediately. He will report directly to CEO Jim Farley.

“Doug is one of the world’s most respected engineering and product design leaders and has been a driving force behind breakthrough products across auto, tech and mobility,” Farley said in a statement.

“His talent and commitment to innovation that improves customers’ lives will be invaluable as we build out our Ford+ plan to deliver awesome products, always-on customer relationships and ever-improving user experiences," Farley said. "We are thrilled Doug chose to join Ford and help write the next amazing chapter of this great company.”

A company news release said Field will "lead Ford's embedded software and hardware organization, driving the design, development and implementation of the Blue Oval Intelligence tech stack for Ford, Lincoln and Ford Pro products."

Field and his team will be "responsible for delivering seamless, delightful and always-on experiences, carrying responsibility for infotainment, navigation, driver-assist technology, connected services and vehicle cybersecurity," Ford said.

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His team develops and delivers "scalable technology platforms to be deployed across Ford global products, leads the relationships with key technology partners and Ford’s digital developer ecosystem, and is responsible for Ford Power-Up over-the-air updates which deliver new experiences, improve quality and reduce costs," Ford said in its news release.

Coming home to Detroit

Prior to Apple and Tesla, Field was the first employee and vice president of design and engineering at Segway.

His role at Ford marks a return to where he began his career as a development engineer from 1987 to 1993, Ford said.

Field earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at Purdue University. He earned dual master's degrees in engineering and management science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Ford as it embraces a transition to a new, complex and fascinating period in the auto industry,” Field said in a statement. “It will be a privilege to help Ford deliver a new generation of experiences built on the shift to electrification, software and digital experiences, and autonomy. I’m committed to helping the team make those experiences seamless, delightful and continually advancing over time.”

'Common principles'

Field will work with Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s chief product platform and operations officer, on upcoming projects.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to help the team build the next generation of iconic Ford vehicles and prepare Ford for the next hundred years," Field said.

“There is a set of common principles that unite companies building world-changing products,” he said.

“A fundamentals approach to engineering, grounded in physics. A relentless pursuit of excellence in everything they do. An integrated way of thinking about all the disciplines that come together when developing new products. And a sensitivity to design, and why customers fall in love with products and brands," Field said. "I am lucky enough to have worked in teams and companies that embody these principles, and I know they will be a part of building great products and experiences at Ford.”

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Contact Phoebe Wall Howard at313-618-1034 her on Twitter@phoebesaid. Read more on Ford and sign up for our autos newsletter.